Stamping out Prejudice & Discrimination, one (ballroom) step at a time

According to Laurence Peters, "Two things reduce prejudice: education and laughter": Ralph Sockman said "In overcoming prejudice, working together is even more effective than talking together". We're bringing both of those theories into play with an extremely exciting Positive Afritude event,Sole to Soul...Ballroom from Africa with love!” taking place in November 2017. 

 

Building on the massive success of CharitEY Ballroom, an event I introduced and organised at EY, Sole to Soul will follow the format of the very popular BBC TV programme, Strictly Come Dancing.  Over 12 weeks, 16 couples from different organisations across London will learn 4 dances: Samba, Charleston, Rumba and Tango under guardianship of Damian Evans, international dance champion, renowned instructor and international competition judge. Incidentally, did you know that all those dances were born in Africa?  Contestants will perform in front of celebrity judges (previous event judges were Arlene Phillips, Anton du Beke and Louis Smith).  With one dancer in each couple being of African origin, there's a fantastic opportunity for conversations, awareness, understanding and of course fun between the pairs and across the group.  

 

Anticipated outcomes

It's amazing how much you can learn about a person when you see them first and foremost as an individual and fellow human being, not as one of the many labels/boxes they may fit into - woman, immigrant, Human Resources representative, footballer, transgender, foreigner, banker, mum, Muslim, politician, disabled, Black etc... EACH with its own set of prejudices. To embed a culture of inclusiveness, people need to be encouraged to take the time and opportunity to have real conversations with people in the demographics that often suffer from the prejudices that underpin the need for the diversity agenda in the first place. Outcomes of this event are intended to be:

 

1. Creating opportunities for dialogue and networking between people from different organisations, 50% of whom will be of African origin to break stereotypes/myths/misconceptions

2. Underlining the importance of teamwork and how that relies NOT on gender, origin etc. but on working together

3. Highlighting the reality of prejudice and how it manifests in sometimes innocent but still detrimental ways; this spotlight will trigger awareness which hopefully, will lead to positive change

4. Showcasing the various, extremely talented African entrepreneurs & their businesses, whose work will feature throughout the build up to the event and on the night e.g. South Africa based Lisa Jeanine Meyer of Miss Ruby Creative Design, creator of event logo

5. Raising money to support our beneficiary charities and fund projects i.e. Life for African Mothers, Zimbabwe's Children and also fund on-going projects such as {he}ART of Africa as part of our Positive Projects initiative which include funding feeding schemes e.g. 42 children under 4 in Vrygrond in South Africa who we are feeding for 12 months through Ukama Holdings ; training grants/scholarships and innovation contests to encourage solution building and implementation led by local people but with support and resources from the global community.

How to get involved

There are several ways you can get involved: 

 

1. DANCE! 

  • Rehearsals will take place in central London so any participants need to sign up, please email mac@positiveafritude.com 

  • Dancers will receive 12 weeks of professional training from Damian Evans, renowned dance champion, judge, dance school owner (and close friend/colleague of Anton du Beke)

  • There is no fee for taking part but each couple will need to raise £150 (total, not each) in sponsorship for their choice of one of the UK registered charities we're supporting

  • The focus is on diversity and particularly, debunking some of the myths around people of African origin, so participants will reflect the 50:50 split

  • At least one professional ballroom dress will be provided by leading ballroom dress suppliers 

  • Dancers will be paired by Damian (professional dance teacher) based on height etc. so may not necessarily dance with a colleague


2. SPONSORSHIP

  • There are various sponsorship levels and packages from £3,000 to headline sponsorship at £20,000, each offering fantastic brand placement and brand recognition at what will be a much talked about event


3. COME ALONG AND SUPPORT

  • There will be 350 tickets for the event available at different price bands reflecting proximity to the dance floor and extras such as VIP afterparty access, goodie bags etc.

  • Organisations with participating dancers are asked to commit to a table per couple to ensure support for the dancers and also the message

Please contact mac@positiveafritude.com for details on any of the above.

BBC Strictly Come Dancing 2016 featured 2 fabulous African connections - Oti Mabuse (professional dancer & Civil Engineering graduate from South Africa) and Ore Oduba (celebrity contestant whose parents flew in from Nigeria to watch him).  They both made it into the final which Ore won! 

 

As if it was a sign, Oti and her celebrity partner Danny MAC made Strictly history by scoring perfect marks for the first time with an African inspired Samba.

 

Oti wanted their Samba to be "less carnival & a little bit more jungle, ethnic & tribal". If you haven't already watched it, just do yourself a favour and click play now.

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